For us to have equality in tech, a community where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed, it is going to take tearing down some major long standing biases.
- The assumption that women are not technical.
- The unconscious but very prevalent biases in hiring that create an artificially higher bar for underrepresented groups to land jobs.
- The very subtle expectations that executive and senior leaders should be men.
These are all things I've experienced and witnessed in my 23 years in tech. To bread these barriers down we need representation. We women, POC, LGBT to be seen and acknowledged in the workforce at all levels so it becomes just as commonplace as seeing the dominant class in those spaces.
I have been a hacker all my life. I've been working professionally in security for the last 15 years. Being a former developer, I spend a lot of time on Application Security in particular. I'm currently writing a book that is targeted at helping aspiring security professionals get over that initial barrier and start their careers in security.
I'm also a public speaker. I share a lot of topics from DevSecOps, to Deepfakes, to alternative security design, to even how to more effectively communicate with executive levels of management to win support/budget for security initiatives.
Be authentic, embrace the things that make you unique and emphasize the characteristics about yourself that make you stand out. Use it on your resume to build curiosity and interest, use it in your daily work to present a different viewpoint, use it in your life to show that you are comfortable and whole in yourself.
Shed this thing we call impostor syndrome. Be objective and acknowledge all that you've accomplished. Do not fall prey to toxic humility. Don't use "I got lucky", "I was helped by so-and-so", etc. as excuses to devalue your successes. We all get help along the way from people and from circumstance, that's how success happens. And finally, understand that you bring something to the table. No one knows everything but yet we tend to assume people have more knowledge than they do. So be proud of what you do know and learn that which you want to know.